David Pierson:LATGreat publicity doesn’t always mean great profits. Sadly this is true, even for the giant Swedish furniture company, IKEA, who has met an unusual new breed of evolved, gen-two window shoppers in Beijing, China. As the Los Angeles Times reports, customers come to IKEA Beijing for many reasons — decoration inspiration, air conditioning, a comfortable place to nap, inexpensive meals — but buying furniture.
“‘It’s the only big store in Beijing where a security guard doesn’t stop you from taking a picture,’ said Jing Bo, 30, who was looking for promising backdrops for a photograph of his girlfriend.”

“‘We’ve heard a lot about IKEA but never came,’ said Luo, 23. ‘I like the simplicity. My mom liked the food. We’ll hang out for a while.'”

This may seem laughable and peculiar to many, but hell, most of us here probably wish we could unashamedly lounge around at IKEA all day instead of pretending we’re “testing” out their bed mattresses. Or don’t we do that already?

Plus, with intricate mazes and themed, colorful rooms, with objects you can actually touch — how can IKEA not be a place to go to just have fun?

Though ‘theme park attraction’ probably wasn’t the goal of IKEA executives when they opened their store in Beijing, the spectacle of the store in itself is a sign for the prospect of window-shoppers-turned-buyers. Until then, Beijing customers will enjoy sightseeing at IKEA.

Photo by David Pierson/Los Angeles Times

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